ERIC Number: ED172229
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Apr
Generic "Man": Sexist Language or Acceptable Usage?
Scholl, Peter A.
Although alleged sexist implications surrounding the generic use of the term "man" have led many to advocate the elimination of the term from usage, it cannot be concluded that the use of the term as generic is always sexist. A review of the studies dealing with the use of the term shows that it has not been empirically established that the word "man" is responsible for causing people to think "male." Problems associated with this word stem primarily from its misuse in context rather than from any inherent sexism in the word itself. Lingering sexist associations which have accumulated around the proper generic use of the term can best be eliminated by a policy that insists on careful, discreet, and precise use of the term. Its usage should be permitted in contexts in which speakers use the word or its compounds in passages that make explicit the fact that the term refers to males and females generically. If the word can be said to function generically in some contexts when used properly, there is no need for neologisms to replace the word nor for seeking alternatives. (DF)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (30th, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 5-7, 1979)